Saturday, July 18, 2015

Recommended Resources: Working with premarital couples


Have you ever heard the saying about how we put hours and hours into preparing for a wedding, but very little time into preparing for the marriage?   Have you ever seen this happen?  Knowledge and preparation certainly don't take away the need for work and commitment in marriage, but having some understanding and good tools can really help a couple go into marriage more prepared and more committed to building an excellent marriage.

Undoubtedly, meeting with a qualified counselor or pastor multiple times, several months before the wedding is ideal.  But so many times, it seems this does not happen for one reason or another.  Perhaps a couple has come to you as a trusted friend or as their pastor's wife and asked you to meet with them before their wedding.  Perhaps your husband is called upon to do premarital counseling as a pastor, and would like some fresh tools.

No tool (or book)  replaces  honest, open and loving conversation with a couple who have spent years growing together.  But it can be very helpful to have a good resource to work through together if you are trying to meet with a couple before their marriage.

Preparing for Marriage is a book/workbook from familyLife ministries.  It contains six main sessions and special projects to help a couple work through come crucial and valuable issues and information.  In the "how to use this workbook" introduction, it also explains the value of working through the book with a mentor and provides a table which explains the three options: 1.  Learning and discussing the material with a mentor.  2.  Learning the material on your own, then discussing it with a mentor.  and 3.  Learning the material without a mentor.

This is an excellent resource to recommend to your young friends who are not planning to do premarital counseling.  But if at all possible, it would be best to invite them into your home or some other meeting place to discuss the material they have covered each week.  The value of hearing a trusted couple talk honestly about their own challenges and victories in marriage can make a life-changing difference in the life of a couple getting ready to choose a partner for life.


One important area of marriage that very often gets glossed over or ignored completely in premarital counseling (even professional counseling!) is the area of preparing for physical intimacy in marriage.
No doubt about it, it can be a challenging thing to sit down with a young couple and discuss the joys and challenges of the wedding night and what follows...

But perhaps you have heard the heart-breaking comments from a young bride who is less than thrilled with her first impressions of the marriage bed.  Or seen the frustration in the eyes of a young husband who is baffled at the complex creature he has married.  Or perhaps you have wished that you had been somehow better prepared for what to expect in the early days/weeks/months of adjustment.

There are several excellent Christian books which can expertly guide a couple towards a beautiful beginning....and can continue to help for years to come!

Even couples who don't consider themselves "readers" will most likely be willing to read a book on this intriguing subject...but you may want to wait until a month or two before the wedding to recommend these books.

Getting Your Sex Life Off to a Great Start
by Clifford L. Penner and Joyce J. Penner

Intended for Pleasure
by Ed Wheat and Gaye Wheat

The Act of Marriage
by Tim and Beverly LaHaye


If you are working with a premarital couple, please do not gloss over the subject of sexual addictions. Many,  many Christian couples are going into marriage with the baggage of sexual addictions (both men and ladies!).  It is unraveling marriages at the seams and breaking hearts.  As mentors, counselors and friends, we must be able and willing to probe, to dig deep, to be honest and to have real answers.

If you don't know where to begin, you can have the couple read this book, discuss it together, then bring it to your sessions to discuss it with you.

Every Man's Battle:  Winning the War on Sexual Temptation one Victory at a Time.   by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker

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